The Ramsar Bulletin Board, 4 September 2000
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Headline story. Lake Chad Basin Commission update. The Presidents of Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, and high-level representatives of the Presidents of Cameroon and the Central Africa Republic met 28 July 2000 in N'Djamena for the 10th summit meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, with the President of Sudan participating as an observer, and took a long step forward in ensuring a sustainable future for Lake Chad and its large catchment. SFR 40,000 grants have recently been awarded or are planned for each of the Commission Member States by the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Living Waters Campaign to assist in the designation of related Ramsar sites in each of them, and a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project has been approved specifically for Ramsar designation and an appropriate management plan for Lake Chad and its basin. The LCBC Heads of State agreed a Final Communique welcoming the Ramsar, WWF, and GEF initiatives and calling for further donor support, and issued a memorandum declaring all of Lake Chad as a transboundary Ramsar site as soon as the relevant studies can be completed. Here is our reprint of the Final Communique in English and French. [4/9/00]
Headline story.Tracts acquired for USA Ramsar site. Ducks Unlimited is taking a lead role in the acquisition and restoration of two tracts of land, including Raft Creek, 4,165 acres, which is part of the White River ecosystem, and the Hatchiecoon tract, consisting of 900 acres, both included within the Cache-Lower White Rivers Ramsar site (81,376 hectares, designated November 1989) in the midwestern state of Arkansas, USA. The two tracts support one of the largest concentrations of wintering waterfowl in Arkansas. Other partners in this public-private cooperative initiative include the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the National Wild Turkey Federation, and numerous private donors. More detail is available in this announcement to the Ramsar Forum. [31/8/00]
Headline story.New Ramsar Intern appointed for Asia. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that Satiraporn Sirisampan from Thailand has been appointed to the position of Ramsar Intern and Assistant to the Regional Coordinator for Asia, replacing Taeko Takahashi of Japan, who completes her one-year tenure in the post on 28 November. Ms Sirisampan is 25 years old and has a B.Sc. in Forestry (Major: Watershed Management) from Kasetsart University, Thailand, and a M.Sc. (Major: Hydrological Processes) from Nagoya University, Japan (with a scholarship from the UNESCO International Hydrological Program). She is currently working as an Environmental Assistant at the Asia-Europe Environmental Technology Centre in Bangkok. Ms Sirisampan, who prefers to be known by her nickname "Tug", will take up her duties in mid-November 2000. [29/8/00]
Marco Flores (Puerto Rico, USA) has joined the Bureau as the new Intern for the Americas and Assistant to the Regional Coordinator. He is presently working with Flor de María Salvador Pérez (Peru) on a handover of ongoing tasks, and Flor will be winding up her year's tenure in the Bureau in the coming days. [22/8/00]
The Secretary General's plans for early September 2000:Delmar Blasco will be attending the 4th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific to be held in Kitakyushu, Japan, from 31 August - 5 September. The Environment Congress for Asia and the Pacific (ECO ASIA), organized annually by the Environment Agency of Japan, will be held in conjunction with the Conference on 3 September.
From Japan the SG will fly to New York to speak at the State of the World Forum, on 6 September, at a session on "The World’s Fresh Water and Wetlands in the 21st Century". The Forum is being held at the New York Hilton and Towers, co-chaired by such individuals as Mikhail Gorbachev, Ruud Lubbers, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, H.E. Oscar Arias, Ted Turner, Elie Wiesel and others, bringing together some of the world’s top leadership, including many current and former heads of state, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, political and business leaders, scientists and academicians, administrators of non-governmental organizations, and so forth. While in New York, the SG will meet with UN officials to discuss Ramsar insertion in the Rio+10 process and Ramsar's contribution to the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action for Small Island Developing States.[24/8/00]
New on the Site: Final Communique of the Lake Chad Basin Commission's heads of state summit meeting; Announcement of Okinawa Workshop for Asia-Pacific Strategy; The Deputy Secretary General's address on MedWet and AEWA, delivered to the Quebec 2000 INTECOL symposium on migratory bird programs. [4/9/00]
Asia-Pacific waterbird workshop set for Okinawa, October 2000. In the "Brisbane Initiative" (Recommendation 6.4, Ramsar COP6, 1996), the Contracting Parties urged member States in the region to implement the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy 1996-2000 and launched the Shorebird Network. Recommendation 7.3 (Ramsar COP7, 1999) called for greater multilateral cooperation on the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the Asia-Pacific region and encouraged the Parties to develop a multilateral agreement or other arrangement to provide for the long-term conservation framework for migratory waterbirds and their habitats. Major achievements of the1996-2000 Strategy have been the launch of the Crane Network in 1997 at Beidaihe, China, and the Anatidae Network in 1999 at San Jose, Costa Rica, during COP7. Now, as Taej Mundkur, Interim Executive Director of Wetlands International-Asia Pacific, reports to the Ramsar Forum, a workshop sponsored by Environment Agency of Japan, Environment Australia, and Wetlands International is planned for Okinawa, Japan, in October 2000 in order to assess the progress of the existing Strategy and endorse the final draft of the 2001-2005 Strategy and new Action Plans for three waterbird species groups. Here is the text of the announcement. [28/8/00]
The United Kingdom designates four new Ramsar sites. The UK has named four new Wetlands of International Importance, bringing the UK's total number of Ramsar sites to 155: Black Bog (183 hectares), Northern Ireland, one of the two largest intact active bogs in Northern Ireland with hummock and hollow pool complexes; it represents one of the best examples of this habitat type in the UK. Fairy Water Bogs (224 ha), Northern Ireland, an area of particular interest because it is considered to comprise the most important concentration of lowland raised bogs in Northern Ireland. As other bog complexes in Northern Ireland have suffered much more severe exploitation, the overall extent of intact bog make this complex unique. Slieve Beagh (1885 ha), Northern Ireland, a large and relatively intact example of a blanket bog and one of the best examples of this habitat in the UK. It also contains nationally important examples of transitional and alkaline fen and oligotrophic/mesotrophic lakes. Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary (6923 ha), Scotland, a complex of estuarine and coastal habitats in eastern Scotland. The site includes extensive invertebrate-rich intertidal mudflats and sandflats created by the massive sediment load deposited by the River Tay. Also present are large areas of reedbed and sand-dune and a small amount of saltmarsh. The site supports an internationally important populations of several species of wintering waterfowl. [25/8/00]
US National Ramsar Committee announces small grants programme. The US National Ramsar Committee, composed of leading non-governmental organizations concerned with wetland conservation and wise use, has announced a new Small Grants Program to assist wetlands conservation and awareness at and adjacent to U.S. Ramsar sites. The announcement can be read on this Web site. [23/8/00]
Assistance sought for Lake Chad. The following item appeared in the Environmental News Service on 3 August: "AFRICAN NATIONS SEEK GLOBAL HELP FOR LAKE CHAD. NDJAMENA, Chad, August 3, 2000 (ENS) - Five African nations have signed an agreement to conserve Lake Chad, the continent's most endangered wetland. They are seeking global conservation status for the shrinking lake under the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement that protects the wetlands of the world. For full text and graphics visit: http://ens.lycos.com/ens/aug2000/2000L-08-03-11.html ." [22/8/00] Cf. the text of the agreement.
Ramsar's first Intern baby. Raquel Siguenza de Micheo (Guatemala), Ramsar Intern for the Neotropics in 1997-1998, and her husband Hugo have become "the extremely happy parents of a little baby boy" -- Diego Alejandro MICHEO SIGUENZA. Congratulations to firstname.lastname@example.org . In her work with the Government of Guatemala, Raquel has continued her close and informed involvement in Ramsar issues, particularly in preparing the designation of further Wetlands of International Importance. [22/8/00]
Adviser for Environment and Development Cooperation joins Bureau. Since the Conference of the Parties in 1996, the Ramsar Bureau has recognized the importance of having an officer to work full time with the community of bilateral and multilateral institutions providing support for environment and development issues in developing countries and countries in transition. The proposal to create such a position received strong support at the last Conference of the Parties in May 1999 and was approved by the Standing Committee at its meeting in November 1999. Now the Secretary General is pleased to announce that Mr Alain Lambert has joined the Bureau, as of 1 August, in the new post of Senior Policy Adviser on Environment and Development Cooperation. Here is his announcement, with further details on the nature of the new position. [18/8/00]
Study of cultural issues at Ramsar sites.Dave Pritchard (BirdLife International) is visiting the Ramsar Bureau in Gland, Switzerland, 15-18 August, to collect material for a preliminary study of the role of cultural values of wetlands in implementing the Convention. He will be delving through the Bureau's archives seeking the cultural information provided by Contracting Parties in the Ramsar Information Sheets for designated wetlands of international importance. [17/8/00]
Further news from the SWS Ramsar Support Framework.Eric Gilman, Pacific Representative of the National Audubon Society’s Living Oceans Program and Chair of the Society of Wetland Scientists International Chapter, writes to SWS members: "Just a quick note to notify you that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of International Affairs has agreed to award a $10,000 grant towards the Society of Wetland Scientists Ramsar Support grant program for this year’s round of grant-making, to fund 2 proposals from the Latin America and Caribbean region. The SWS Board agreed to create a budget line item for the SWS Ramsar Support grant program at a level of $10,000 meaning that this year we have a total of $20,000 to award 4 grants. Check out http://www.ramsar.org/w.n.html for Ramsar’s kind coverage of the SWS issuance of a grant to Dr. da Silva at last week’s Millennium Wetlands Event." email@example.com (Application guidelines for the next award cycle, for which the deadline is 1 November 2000, are available on the SWS Web site, http://www.sws.org .) [18/8/00]
New Web site for BirdLife Vietnam. News recently received: "Greetings! My name is Quoc and I am the Communications Officer from the BirdLife International Vietnam Programme. I am proud to announce BirdLife Vietnam Programme’s new website. This website is designed to improve the dissemination of information on conservation news in Vietnam, including BirdLife Vietnam Programme’s conservation activities, and improve access to key publications. This site also provides links to global conservation organisations and conventions. One of the website’s objectives is to encourage further understanding of global (and national), collaborative efforts in conserving the world’s biodiversity.
At BirdLife, we are very excited about this new development. To reach a wider audience, we would like to ask you to post our new website address on your site. Our address is: www.birdlifevietnam.com Thank you for your support and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org Best wishes, Quoc" (Nguyen Phu Quoc, Communications Officer, BirdLife International Vietnam Programme, tel/fax: +84 4 851- 7217 E-mail: email@example.com ). [16/8/00]
Millennium Wetland Event: SWS Ramsar Support Framework grant awarded to Eduardo da Silva. At the Quebec 2000 SWS/INTECOL Awards Banquet, 10 August, Society of Wetland Scientists President Dr Janet Keough bestowed one of this year's US$ 5,000 awards upon Dr Eduardo da Silva of Brazil. Dr EricGilman, Chair of the SWS International Affairs Committee and administrator of the Support Framework, introduced the presentation with these words: "In the context of the SWS Memorandum of Cooperation with the Ramsar Convention Bureau, signed in June 1999, the Society of Wetland Scientists approved the formation of a Ramsar Support Framework which includes a grant program to support SWS members with Ramsar-related activities. Grants at a level of US$ 5,000 are awarded each year on a competitive basis. This past year, we have awarded our first grant to the Wetlands International Cambodia and Mekong Programme to develop in-country expertise to monitor coastal habitats and to nominate a site to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Also in this past year, we received matching funds for the Ramsar Support Programme from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Office of International Affairs. We used this federal grant to support a proposal from Dr Eduardo da Silva of the Institute of Biology, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, to assist his efforts to collect baseline data on the wetlands of the floodplain of the Santo Antonio Creek and wetlands from the Praia do Forte area, and to nominate a wetland from the State of Bahia for the Ramsar List." Application guidelines for the next award cycle, for which the deadline is 1 November 2000, are available on the SWS Web site, http://www.sws.org . [10/8/00]
Millennium Event draws to a close in Quebec, Canada. The Millennium Wetland Event, centering upon the annual meetings of the Society of Wetland Scientists, INTECOL, the International Peat Society, and the International Mire Conservation Group, featured a dizzying daily round of scientific symposia, administrative annual meetings, poster displays, rain-soaked excursions out on the river, and fairly loud rock-and-roll from the 6th to the 11th of August. Some 2068 wetland enthusiasts from 77 nations were in attendance, and the Ramsar Bureau's representatives were extremely encouraged by the interest shown in international wetland issues, and the Ramsar Convention in particular, by so many of the participants. Ramsar's Nick Davidson's keynote address to the Quebec 2000's first plenary session, 7 August, is available on this Web site. [11/8/00]
BirdLife seeks Project Co-Director for Pakistan. BirdLife International is seeking a Project Co-Director for its Palas Conservation and Development Project, Pakistan. The remote Palas valley in Northwest Frontier Province contains the largest single tract of Western Himalayan Temperate Forest in Pakistan and is of international importance for its biodiversity. It is also one of the least developed and poorest parts of Pakistan, and its inhabitants depend almost entirely upon the resources of the valley. This is an EU-funded project that seeks to ensure that the biodiversity, extent, and ecological character of the Palas valley are maintained and that the forest is used sustainably by local people. The post of Project Co-Director will be based in Abbottabad, Northwest Frontier Province. The purpose of the job is to provide technical support to the Government of Pakistan for all areas of project implementation and management and to develop the capacity of local, regional, and national level institutions with a view to ultimate hand-over of responsibilities for management. The job requires a graduate with at least 5-yrs’ experience in conservation and rural development through participatory approaches and social organization, including at least 5-yrs’ experience of project management at a senior level. In accordance with EC financing regulations, the Co-Director should be a national of an EU member state. Starting salary 28,000-34,000 pounds sterling tax free, including 12% pension allowance. Please apply with a CV to Personnel Officer, BirdLife International, Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge CB3 0NA UK, firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing date, 25 August 2000.
Ramsar-sponsored participations. Sustainable management of urban wetlands.The Ramsar Convention assisted in supporting the within-Australia travel costs of Dr Madhu Verma in her presentation of a paper on sustainable management of wetlands, especially in India. The paper was entitled "Need for Holistic Planning for Sustainable Management of Urban Wetland Ecosystems: A Case from India" and was authored by Dr. Verma, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, India, Ms. Nishita Bakshi, Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Economics, & Ramesh P.K. Nair, Senior Research Fellow, Limnology, and it was presented at the International Symposium on Ecosystem Health at the Carlton Crest, Brisbane, Australia, on 14 July 2000. The conference was organized by the International Society for Ecosystem Health and its main theme was Transdisciplinary Approaches. The subsession under which this paper was presented was the Economic Analysis of Ecosystem Health. The paper attempted to study the changing needs of a growing city and how unsustainable use of an urban wetland would lead to problems in the future. Health of the ecosystem was related to the health of the city's population and cost and expenditures in preventive and curative measures were also discussed in the paper. More information is available from Dr Verma, email@example.com . [8/8/00]
Bangladesh designates its 2nd Ramsar site. Bangladesh has designated its 2nd Wetland of International Importance, effective 10 July, to join the famous Sundarbans coastal mangrove forest on the Ramsar List. Here is a brief description of the new site, drawn from the RIS and the covering letter by Syed Marghub Murshed, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
Tanguar Haor is Bangladesh's most important freshwater wetland, extending over 9,500 ha in Sunamganj District in the northeastern part of the country; it lies in the floodplain of the Surma River, one of the main tributaries of the Brahmaputra at the base of the Meghalaya Hills in adjacent India. The area harbours some of the last vestiges of natural swamp forest and is totally flooded in the monsoon season, apart from artificial hillocks upon which homesteads are constructed. Tanguar Haor provides habitat for at least 135 fish and 208 bird species, including 92 waterbird species and 98 migratory bird species, and including 10 IUCN Red Book and 22 CITES listed species. About 30-40,000 migratory waterfowl converge on the area in the northern winter months, and rare species such as Pallas's Fish-eagle Haliaeetus leucorhyphus are relatively common and breed in the area. Tanguar Haor also supports a rich fishery and is regarded as one of the country's richest breeding grounds for freshwater fish. Threats include over-exploited fishery stocks and uncontrolled taking of waterfowl, and the local community has been denied access to the resources by leaseholders of the fishery, which has led to conflicts. Under the National Conservation Strategy Implementation Project-1, a first management plan was produced in 1997 and a new one is going into implementation in 2000, which is intended to restore access and use rights. Hunting of turtles, tortoises, and waterfowl is widespread and part of everyday life, and the way of life - living in homesteads built on mounds -- is said to be unique in this part of Bangladesh. The Ministry of Environment and Forest, at the time of designation, has requested that the site be placed on the Montreux Record as soon as that procedure can be completed. This is Ramsar's 1031st Wetland of International Importance. [27/7/00]
Bolivia designates 3rd Ramsar site. The Ramsar Bureau is pleased to announce that Bolivia has designated Cuenca de Tajzara (5,500 hectares), effective 13 June 2000. Situated in the endorrheic Tajzara basin, 45 kilometres west of the city of Tarija, at 3,700m above sea level, the site consists of a group of seasonal, semi-permanent and permanent lakes, high-altitude streams, marshes and high-Andean pastures. The two permanent lakes (areas between 350 and 800 ha) serve as a refuge for 40 species of birds indigenous to the high-Andean aquatic systems, where about 90% of the high-Andean waterfowl in Bolivia is found. The area is important for migratory shore birds, with year-round concentrations of the vulnerable high-Andean waterfowl species Andean flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus), James's flamingo (P. jamesi), and Fulica cornuta. More than 30 archaeological sites have been identified near the lakes, ranging from vestiges of primitive hunter-gatherers, pre-Incan hydraulic constructions, cave paintings illustrating aquatic birds, and three Incan roads that lead from the basin to the valley. The main economic activity is the raising of sheep, llamas and cattle; agriculture is limited by the climate, though the families in the area have an average of ½ to 1 hectare for subsistence crops. There is a visitors' centre, a bird-observation site, information material, and facilities for school visits. There are plans to draw up a management plan with the participation of the local communities. The site forms part of the Reserva Biológica de la Cordillera de Sama, which is managed by the Servicio Nacional de Areas Protegidas through the NGO Protección del Medio Ambiente Tarija (PROMETA). [25/7/00]
Announcement.Ramsar Bureau seeks Intern for Africa. The Ramsar Bureau is seeking applications for the position of Intern/Assistant to the Regional Coordinator for Africa. For this internship the applicants must be nationals of countries on the African continent. The position requires a very high level of English or French and an ability to work in the other language. Qualified candidates from that region are encouraged to read the general terms of reference for Ramsar Internships and apply by 15 September 2000, to begin on 15 January 2001. [24/7/00]
More to follow. Watch this space. Feedback and suggestions to: the Ramsar Convention Bureau, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland (tel +41 22 999 0170, fax +41 22 999 0169, e-mail ). Updated regularly by Dwight Peck, Ramsar Bureau.